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Bat found in Laguna Niguel tests positive for rabies

A bat found at Laguna Niguel Regional Park (28241 La Paz Rd, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677) on September 11, 2021 has tested positive for rabies.

While human rabies is very rare, each possible exposure should be carefully evaluated. Anyone who may have had physical contact with a bat or saw someone else having contact with a bat is asked to call the OC Health Care Agency (HCA) Communicable Disease Control Division at (714) 834-8180 to determine the risk for rabies. Owners of pets who may have had contact with a bat should contact their veterinarian.

Rabies is spread by the bite of an infected animal or, rarely, from a scratch if the animal’s saliva gets into the scratch. Bats have very small teeth, and their bites may go unnoticed. Most cases of human rabies in the United States in recent years have resulted from bat strains of rabies.

If exposure to rabies could have occurred, there is a safe and effective treatment to prevent rabies from developing. Modern treatment for rabies uses a series of shots of a vaccine, which is given in the arm just like other vaccines.

To prevent rabies:

  • Avoid all contact with wild animals.
  • Vaccinate all cats and dogs against rabies.
  • Do not sleep with open unscreened windows or doors.
  • If bats are seen inside the house or other structure, close off the area and contact animal control. Once the bat(s) have been removed, close off any areas allowing entrance into the house.
  • Do not leave pet food outside where it will attract wild animals.
  • Immediately wash all animal bites with soap and water, being sure to flush the wound well, and then contact your doctor.
  • Report all animal exposures to your Animal Control program.
  • Obey leash laws.
  • Report stray animals to your Animal Control program. 

More information about rabies is available at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/rabies.

This article was released by the Orange County Health Care Agency.